Patrick Nsenga Buchana is a youthful Rwandan who is passionate about improving the commuters’
experience on Rwanda’s public transport system. His company, AC Group Ltd has played a role in
Kigali’s transition to a cashless payment system using the popular Tap&Go smart cards. With over
960,000 users in Rwanda and 100,000 in Cameroon, they are changing the face of public transportation.
TSM: How do you influence change
within your community?
BUCHANA: Every innovation we bring
to the market is intended to make the
commuters’ experience better. We look
forward to a time when people will opt
to ride buses over motorcycles and other
private means of transport when going
to work or school.
I also sit on the Board of Directors of
kLab that is an open space for Tech
entrepreneurs and I share my experience;
we also work with the management to
convert the ideas into great businesses.
I carry the same inspiration to the board
of ICT Chambers – PSF.
I am also involved with a number of
institutions whose values are in line with
mine; I serve on the advisory board of
Agahozo Shalom Youth Village among
TSM: Why should we change the
Rwandan/ African narrative?
BUCHANA: A lot has changed in the
last couple of years and we need to
learn from it, the solutions we need for
our countries are with us. Africa has a
lot of potential, we have been hearing
this for the last 2 decades but potential
only makes sense when it is realised
and Africa needs to start realising this
TSM: How can smart transport
change the way people view Rwanda/
BUCHANA: By 2050, a big portion of
the most populous cities are going to
be in Africa and that means the traffic
will always be unbearable. Already, this
is a major challenge in some cities. If it
takes us 30 minutes to get to work today,
it will increase to 90 minutes, if not 2 hours, and that means a reduction in our
productive hours which on a large scale
can affect the economy of the country.
To cope with these changes, we need
to reduce the number of cars on the
road with an efficient transport system
and that is how AC Group comes in.
Less cars, better and comfortable public
transportation for business people,
students and civil servants like it is in
London, New York and will be in Kigali
TSM: Has AC Groups vision been
embraced by the people, in and
BUCHANA: Yes, we had challenges at the
start but government was very supportive
and fully understood what value we were
bringing on board. As time went on, they
supported us in changing the mindset of
commuters in Rwanda. Today, not only
have they embraced it, they also give us
feedback and ideas on what to improve.
In Cameroon, they have also embraced
the Tap&Go system and are excited to
use this means of payment.
TSM: Tell us more about Tap&Go and
where it is headed.
BUCHANA: Tap&Go has over 960,000
users in Kigali, 100,000 users in
Cameroon and almost 90% of the
routes in Kigali are fully cashless. We
are now looking at a fully intergrated
Intelligent Transport system that enables
commuters to trust the bus schedule to
get to work or school on time.
We are also advising other governments
on the continent on what smart city
frameworks, regulation and partnerships
to put in place for different smart city
initiatives to sprout like Tap&Go.
TSM: How has AC Group impacted
BUCHANA: Today, the losses in public
transport are significantly minimized, the
government has personalized datasets
to help them make decisions in favour
of the commuters’ experience while also
considering the private investors. They
are also able to plan for the city’s future
with this data.
TSM: What’s your take on the
Customer Service delivery in the
BUCHANA: I believe there is a lot to
be done in realizing the full experience
of an efficient transport network
but it is important to also note that
the government and the different
stakeholders are doing a lot to deliver
the best service for commuters and
other transport means like air transport,
RwandAir is doing an incredible job.
TSM: What has motivated you to this
point in your career journey?
BUCHANA: The need to contribute to
my country’s development which later
pushed me to know my continent better
and the need to realize our full potential
are the reasons why I keep pushing a lot
of the visions we have.
TSM: What is your message to the
BUCHANA: Allow me to quote Aristotle
– “Excellence is never an accident. It
is always the result of high intention,
sincere effort, and intelligent execution;
it represents the wise choice of many
alternatives – choice, not chance,
determines your destiny.” We must learn
to have patience; it takes time to build a
great business or career. It takes a lot of
courage, commitment, discipline and the
never-give-up spirit and without these, it
is impossible to keep going when things
are not moving the way we expected.
What do you enjoy doing/ hobbies/
“Football. This is my favorite activity every
Saturday morning. I also like reading,
great conversations and laughter over
coffee or dinner also make my day.”
When are you happiest?
“When something I have spent time
doing actually gets done excellently and
when something good happens to a
friend or colleague of mine.”
What kind of music do you love
“Gospel music. Hill Song is just awesome.”
What books are top on your reading
“Blue Ocean Strategy, Art of War, Good
What’s your favourite dish?
“Chicken with anything.”
What gadget can’t you do without?
“My blackberry phone and laptop.”
What is your ultimate dream car?
“G – Wagon”
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever
“Starting a company with no management
experience and taking on a huge project
which turned out to be the most exciting
Are you single, dating, married?
“Dating an awesome and very supportive